24 September 2013

Air NZ to provide air services to Antartica NZ

Antarctica New Zealand has invited Air New Zealand to assist with transporting Antarctic scientists between New Zealand and Antarctica on a charter basis. In line with this Air New Zealand will next month operate a proving flight from Auckland to McMurdo Sound using one of its Boeing 767-300 aircraft. Antarctica New Zealand and the United States Science Foundation co-operate to transport approximately 2,200 scientists between New Zealand and Antarctica each season. Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully welcomed the partnership between Antarctica New Zealand and Air New Zealand.  “This will fundamentally change our capability on the ice.  Unlike the RNZAF 757s which currently fly to Antarctica, the Air New Zealand 767 can make a return trip without refuelling.” Antarctica New Zealand Board Chairman, Rob Fenwick, says, “Working with Air New Zealand could provide the New Zealand and United States national Antarctic programmes with more operational flexibility.” The charter schedule, to be confirmed on the completion of a successful proving flight, could see two more Air New Zealand services operate to and from the ice this season. Air New Zealand’s 767s do not require any modifications to operate the flights. “Air New Zealand is a keen supporter of Antarctic research and last year formalised a $1 million partnership between Antarctica New Zealand and NZARI, the New Zealand Antarctic Research Institute.”
Other support has included:
·         $100,000 grants to two Antarctic researchers to support their post doctoral studies.
·         Travel for scientists and research equipment from Canada and the United Kingdom to New Zealand to join Antarctic research efforts.
·         Travel for New Zealand based researchers to travel to Canada and the United States to advance international research collaboration.
·         Partnering with the New Zealand Antarctic Research Institute on polar amplification research and its potential consequences.
The proving flight is scheduled to depart Auckland International Airport on October 5, 2013.  It will be crewed by Air New Zealand staff and supported by Antarctica New Zealand staff.

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